Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | April 15, 2011

Is this normal?

A common source of stress for many parents is figuring out if their child is normal. 

You might ask…

Is he growing quickly enough?  Is she too old to be coming into our bed in the middle of night?  Should she be reading by now?  Will he ever move out of the house?

For adoptive parents the question of what is “normal” is nearly impossible to answer because an adopted child’s experience is not normal.  It is not “normal” to start life with one family or caregiver and then abruptly move to a new home or country with completely new strangers, smells, sights and sounds.  It is not “normal” to experience abuse, to be left in a crib without stimulation, to have cries go unanswered.  When a child experiences abnormal events isn’t it completely normal for them to respond in abnormal ways?

One reason why parents or professionals often focus on unusual behaviors is because we do not always know what a child has experienced in their past.  We do not care so much that a child is different compared to other children in their class or family.  In fact, that makes them interesting and reflects upon God’s creativity.  However, troubling behaviors may suggest that a child has experienced, or is still experiencing, something that is deeply painful.  As parents you want to know what is wrong so you can comfort your child and make it make it all better. 

And if we’re honest with ourselves we might also worry about how our children’s behavior reflects upon us.  Is that normal?


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